Relatives put McGuinness's past under renewed scrutiny


IRA ROLE:MARTIN McGUINNESS’S bid for the presidency has come under renewed criticism from the relatives of two people murdered by the Provisional IRA.

The sister of a woman shot dead leaving Mass in 1983 described Mr McGuinness’s campaign as “an insult to the victims of the IRA”, while the son of an Irish soldier shot dead by the IRA in the same year described his campaign as opportunistic. “After everything we have endured, it is devastating for us to see Mr McGuinness, a leading member of the PIRA terrorist movement of many years, to make an opportunistic and insensitive bid for the Irish presidency, which includes the titular title commander and chief of the Irish Defence Forces,” said David Kelly, whose father was shot dead in 1983. He made his comments in a letter to The Irish Times.

Mr Kelly confronted the Sinn Féin candidate in Athlone on Monday, and in his letter he demanded that Mr McGuinness give his father Patrick and the murdered Garda Gary Sheehan the justice they deserved by revealing the identities of the killers.

“We demand the information now so that, even post the Good Friday agreement and the time that has elapsed, we can achieve successful prosecutions for the murder of two true peacemakers and patriots, not in the future as part of any truth and reconciliation committee, but now, and we make no apologies for it.”

Meanwhile, Ann Travers, whose sister Mary was shot dead by the IRA outside a Belfast Catholic church, also asked for answers from Mr McGuinness.

Mary Travers (23) was shot dead as she left Mass in Derryvolgie Avenue in April 1984. Her father, magistrate Tom Travers, was shot six times but survived.

Last May, Mary McArdle, who was convicted for her role in the murder and sentenced to life but was released under the Belfast Agreement, was appointed a special adviser to Sinn Féin Minister for Culture Carál Ní Chuilín.

Ms Travers travelled to Stormont from Dublin yesterday to support a private member’s bill by Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister.

The motion, if passed, would lead to the sacking of Ms McArdle and prevent others with criminal records and carrying prison sentences of five years or more being appointed special advisers to Ministers in the Northern Executive.

“I do have a vote in the presidential election and I’m sure Martin isn’t surprised he won’t be getting my vote,” said Ms Travers.